Highways England reworks plans for £250m Arundel bypass

04/09/2019
Dominic Browne

Highways England has released a further set of options for the £250m Arundel bypass scheme, after having to withdraw its previous preferred route.

Following major criticism and previous plans announced in May, which took the planned road through South Downs National Park and ancient woodland, Highways England promised a rethink.

New plans

Old plans

The national roads authority has since replaced its programme lead on the scheme and come up with new options.

The new A27 Arundel Bypass programme leader, Jason Hones, said: 'I encourage anyone with an interest in the A27 and Arundel to get involved in this consultation – whether they’re commuters, residents or visitors the area for leisure; their input will be vital in finding the right balance going forward.

'Arundel has a unique cultural heritage and is surrounded by precious special environments, which are rightly protected. We have assessed all the viable options in greater detail than before so that people can see and understand all the factors and help us decide which one strikes the right balance.'

Of the six new routes now proposed for the scheme, only two appear to be completely new from the last consultation, with several offering variations on previous options.

Highways England conceded that the options include 'updates and variants to all three routes which were consulted on during the original consultation in 2017'.

Each of the six route includes creating a new dual carriageway to join up the two existing sections of dual-carriageway either side of Arundel. A public consultation on the proposals runs for eight weeks until 24 October.

All six options feature a new bridge spanning the River Arun and a bridge over the Arun Valley Railway, as well as a new junction at Crossbush.

Cyan (Option 1 v5): Improvements mostly along the route of the existing A27, with around 4.5km (2.8 miles) of new dual carriageway between Crossbush and the west of Arundel.

Beige (Option 1 v9): Improvements mostly along the route of the existing A27, with around 4.5km (2.8 miles) of new dual carriageway between Crossbush and the west of Arundel.

Crimson (Option 3 v1): Around 6km (3.7 miles) of new dual carriageway located to the south of the existing A27, between Crossbush junction and a new junction at Havenwood Park, with around 4km (2.4 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.

Magenta (Option 4/5A v1): Around 7.2km (4.4 miles) of new dual carriageway located to the south of the existing A27, from Crossbush junction to just west of Yapton Lane. Features a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 6.1km (3.7 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.

Amber (Option 4/5A v2): Around 6.9km (4.2 miles) of new dual carriageway to the south of the existing A27, starting at the Crossbush junction and ending just west of Yapton Lane. Features a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 6.2km (3.8 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.

Grey (Option 5B v2): Around 8km (4.9 miles) of new dual carriageway to the south of the existing A27, from Crossbush to Fontwell roundabout. Features a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 6.6km (4.1 miles) of the existing A27 being detrunked.

Chris Todd - director of Transport Action Network - said that all the schemes still impact on woodland, five of them 'directly scar the South Downs National Park and the remaining one would cause noise pollution in the park'.

'I don't think Highways England has done a very good job of presenting full range of options so people can have a proper debate,' he added, stating that he did not think it had taken on board the UK's Climate Emergency commitment to become zero carbon by 2050.

A Judicial Review case over the previous consultation showed evidence that 'something went clearly and radically wrong with the consultation', following which Highways England had decided upon Option 5A as their Preferred Route.     

Highways England agreed to pay costs and launch a this fresh consultation.

Mr Todd said a lower impact, single carriageway road on the route of the pair of Option 1 plans might have support locally but that does not appear to fit with 'Highways England's dual carriageway high speed gold plated approach'. 

Next steps:

  • 2020 New preferred route announcement
  • 2020 Public consultation on the preferred route
  • 2021 Submit application for a Development Consent Order under the Planning Act 2008
  • 2022-23 Subject to approval, start construction
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